Broad, friendly smiles shone on the faces of both the victors, the vanquished and fans alike on the two occasions that the Stephen Appiah World XI featured against Asante Kotoko, first, and then the Black Stars in the Vodafone Unity Match.
It was Kotoko that tested what remains of the energies of the Stars of the recent past, and left them with a 4:1 bruising. Then came the turn of the Black Stars, who raced into a 2:0 leading before the oldies leveled matters, succumbing eventually to another two more goals.
Playing two games and scoring three while conceding eight was no smiling matter.
However, the purpose for putting their names on the line was never lost on anyone – not least the players who only in the recent past gave you all the reasons to follow football, or those determined to present Ghana as a happy, durable nation with a life beyond elections.
No, not on Stephen Appiah, neither Vodafone Ghana nor Primeval Media, the organisers.
So they lined up: Stephen Appiah, Emile Heskey, Dwight Yorke, Edgar Davids, William Gallas, Sol Campbel, Alexandre Song, Nwankwo Kanu, Yakubu Ayigbeni, George Boateng, Michael Essien, Sulley Muntari, Laryea Kingston, Richard Kingson, John Paintsil, Isaac Vorsah,
Aware of their limitations against the aggressive and match-fit sides, they took to the field, and even though they received the expected whacking, their purposeful message was clear – there is life after any competition, elections included.
And fortunately, some of the political actors playing roles in Election 2016 were close enough to the action and could not have missed the message.
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